Why the Rye?

Topics: Novel, Literature, Adolescence Pages: 4 (1116 words) Published: June 19, 2014
Why the Rye?
With Luke Fleming

There is a singular event that unites every single human being on the planet. Not everyone can say it is a pleasant experience, but no one can deny that it happened. This single event is labelled ‘growing up’. The transition between childhood innocence and adulthood is long and confusing, often uncovering questions that cannot be answered.i Highlighting the difficulties of growing up and how difficult this stage of life can be to teenagers, is exactly what J.D Salinger’s book ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ has done. Although the book is over 60 years old, the way in which the main character acts and the struggles he faces, mirror the life of teenagers in the world as we know it today. The novel ‘Catcher in the Rye’ has been defined as a classic piece of literature, an honour that is justified through the novels memorable character Holden Caulfield and the books universal themes. Over time many things have been labelled as classic, but what is it exactly that defines a classic and in this case a classic piece of literature? The word ‘classic’ in itself suggests it’s a masterpiece and the best of its kind. While there are many different definitions for what makes a classic novel, it is commonly agreed that classics are novels of literary significance that have withstood the test of time and remained popular years after their publication.ii Arguably this book fits these descriptions of what makes a classic and is the reason so many people see it at as a classic to this very day.

As the book starts Holden Caulfield, the 17 year old narrator and protagonist of the novel, speaks to the reader directly from a mental hospital or sanatorium in Southern California. As well as struggling with the stresses of being a teenager, a major factor that led to Holden being in this situation was the loss of his younger brother Allie, whose death he still struggles to cope with. After being expelled from his school ‘Pencey Prep’, Holden...
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